No, not the Bob Marley sort of jammin’. I’m talking about the preserves I’ve been making in recent days on our finca in rural Mallorca. We have reached that time of the year when there’s an abundance of fruit and vegetables ready for eating. It’s wonderful to have so much fresh produce available: the market stalls in our nearest town Manacor (and elsewhere) are positively groaning under the weight of it all.
Our Not-so-productive Garden
Our own finca‘s production has so far been limited to some lemons. We have dreadful soil and, although we could import some, because we’re located on sloping terrain, it would probably be washed away in the next heavy downpour.
There are signs that we’ll have a crop of figs later in the year (we had none at all last year) and, of course, there’ll be almonds in the autumn. But non-tree crops just don’t do well. Ours is probably the world’s only garden where mint doesn’t go mad and take over everything else!
The Kindness of Neighbours
We do, however, have generous neighbours whose land produces more fruit and vegetables than they can use. So far, we’ve had gifts of oranges, cherries, mulberries (very messy, those), apricots, plums, courgettes, onions, and lettuces. We’ve juiced, frozen, made jams and chutneys, and eaten. From glut comes gluttony . . .
Jams and chutneys galore
All of the effort involved has made me realize one thing: Mallorcan country wives traditionally didn’t go out to work because they didn’t have time. They were too busy pickling, drying, bottling, preserving, and jammin’ …
Jan Edwards Copyright 2015
The Boss and I went to visit a finca last week that some new English friends (made as a result of this blog) have bought for their future move to the Mallorcan countryside.
They have a lot of work to be done first: the property is a ‘doer-upper’ and as we walked through the house with them, they told us the plans for each room. It will be amazing when it’s finished. This couple has apparently done up several properties during their married life, and we could tell they really enjoy doing projects like this. Not everyone relishes such an undertaking – and you can probably put The Boss and me in that category.
No Hard-hat Home for Us
When we came out to look at properties on Mallorca – which we did in a 4-day breathless, whirlwind tour of the island with various estate agents – we were quite specific about our requirements. We didn’t want to live on a construction site, but were prepared to do some cosmetic stuff to our new home (although it turned out to be a bit more than that).
Despite having emphasised that we didn’t want to have to do a lot of renovation work, several estate agents took us to see quite a few properties that were in need of serious labour. One German real estate agent came accompanied by a builder and a finance-arranger (travelling in a separate beefy 4-wheel drive vehicle), just in case we suddenly succumbed to one of these long-neglected properties they were clearly having trouble selling. No chance – despite what turned out to be intimidation tactics.
I’ve digressed slightly. Our friends’ new home-to-be is blessed with a garden full of trees – one of which neither they nor we could identify.
Can anyone identify this tree?
Jan Edwards Copyright 2015
For the past eight days, we – or just I at times – have been out and about around Mallorca. Some of these excursions have been in connection with my writing; other outings have been for social reasons. It’s been a busy time, and we’ve had some fine weather to do it all by. But a yellow alert for thunderstorms has been hanging over us like the sword of Damocles for a few days.
Today, during a much-wanted day in at our home in the Mallorcan countryside, the storm has arrived – with thunder, lightning, gusty winds, heavy rain, and even hail. The hailstones are the largest we have seen at our finca since we moved here.
When we have a storm, we’re always on lightning watch – so that we can shut down our solar power system if the storm gets too close. It’s inconvenient to be without power (and therefore Internet and phone too), but not as inconvenient as suffering damage to the system.
Spain has had its hottest May for 50 years and, so far, June has been warmer and drier than usual. A neighbouring farmer has lost his field of broad beans, due to lack of water. Although not as devastating as the loss of a food crop and the potential income, many of the plants in our garden are suffering and already have that when-will-August-be-over look about them.
The land needs the water and anyone with crops or a garden will surely be glad to see some rain. As we say in England, ‘it’s lovely weather for ducks’. Not, however for the poor holidaymakers here at the moment . . .
A gathering storm – in every direction.
Time to batten down the hatches.
And soon these fell out of the sky. Noisy on the roof – painful on the head!